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Be a STONE, not a Brick (Sermon Leftovers from Genesis 11)

Genesis 11:3 says that the people of Babel built with bricks instead of stones. While this is not the main point (or perhaps even an important point), the contrast between bricks and stones is interesting. Bricks are man-made, while stones were made by God. Every one of us has a God-given purpose in life. When we pursue that purpose, we discover life as it was meant to be. When we choose to chase after our own purposes and desires, we eventually discover that they leave us empty and unfulfilled. Bricks are not unique. Every brick looks exactly the same because they are mass-produced. Stones are all unique, no two stones are ever the same. God did not create you so that you could look like everyone else. His desire for you is not that you be "one of the crowd" or that you be a nameless face in the crowd. Don't compromise so that you will fit in. Be the person God created you to be, even if (especially if) that makes you stand out. Bricks are replaceable. If a brick is dama
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10 Sermon Leftovers from Genesis 6. No Nephilim Though.

On Sunday, I preached from Genesis 6. Although this passage is famous because of its reference to the NEPHILIM, I am not mentioning them here. They aren't really the point, so I won't really use up the bandwidth. Some Christian beliefs do not make sense to the world. The resurrection is our central truth. Everything that looks good is not good for you. You do not need to take everything you want. Satan's plan is always to counterfeit and corrupt God's good creation. God's people are to live in the world but look different from the world so that they can influence the world for good. God's people are to influence the world, but not to partner with the world. Everyone wants to live in a world where evil is judged justly. God's judgment of evil is also usually the preservation of His plan and protection for His  people. If the focus of your life is the evil of the world, you will either wallow in despair or well up with pride. If the focus of your life is the g

5 Daily Habits to Help You Follow Jesus

Yesterday at The Gathering, I talked about  "Following Jesus."  At the end of our time, I told you that deciding to follow Him is one of the most important decisions you can ever make. This email is a short follow-up from that message. Below are five practical things you can do every day to help you follow Jesus. Just as you have daily habits which sustain your physical life (breathing, eating, moving, etc.), these are spiritual habits which will sustain your relationship with Jesus. Please take a moment and consider whether or not these five simple activities might make a difference in your life this week (and beyond). FIVE DAILY HABITS TO HELP YOU FOLLOW JESUS Get Inspired Give Something Away Connect With Other Christians Make an Eternal impact Celebrate God's Gifts Get Inspired Spending a few minutes reading God's Word is the best possible way to start your day. Whether you take 10 minutes or a full hour, time in God's Word empowers you to kn

Grateful People Have Selective Memories

PHILIPPIANS 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, Paul's time in Philippi wasn't exactly a vacation at the beach or a walk in the park. You can read all the details in Acts 16, but among other things, he had to deal with a heckler, he and his friends got beaten up, and he was even thrown in jail. Yet, in Philippians 1:3, Paul wrote that he was thankful every time he remembered the people who lived in Philippi. Was he thankful for all the bad times? (not that he shouldn't be as God helps us grown in difficult circumstances) Actually, verses 4-5 clue us in as to why he was grateful. PHILIPPIANS 1:4-5 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Paul was grateful for the good times. He had warm memories of partnering with the Philippians to see the Gospel spread throughout their time. He was thankful for the support they had given as He proclaimed the truth.

My Drawer Runneth Over

I like t-shirts. I especially like shirts with logos of my favorite sports teams. I also have a problem getting rid of old t-shirts. Earlier this week, I put on a shirt that I calculated to be at least 10 years old. As a result of my inability to let go, my shirt drawer is overflowing with Spartan, Tiger, Red Wing, Lions, Liverpool, Warrior, Trojan, and Bruin shirts. Let me be clear. My drawer is not overflowing because of any one shirt. It is overflowing because I have SO MANY shirts. Ephesians 5:20 says, "giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" The keywords here are "everything" and "always". Colossians 2:7 is a parallel passage. Here Paul is encouraging a group of Christians to live consistently with their roots in Jesus' example and teaching. This is accomplished, according to Paul, by "overflowing with thankfulness." Saying, "thank you" every so often is nice, but

Use the 10 Commandments as a Template for Gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful tool for fighting anxiety, fear, and selfishness. It also promotes contentment, generosity, peace, and trust. I am always looking for new methods to develop more gratitude in my life. Here is an idea I have to use the 10 commandments as a jumping-off point for gratitude. Consider praying through these commands and using each one to express thanksgiving to God. 1. Have no other gods before Me. Thank you for being all-powerful, all-present, always in control, and still caring about me. 2. Make no false idols. Thank you for being everything I need so that I never need to look elsewhere for provision. 3. Do not take the name of the LORD in vain. Thank you for the privilege of calling on your name through prayer. Thank you for hearing my prayers. 4. Remember the Sabbath. Thank you for all of creation and for building healthy rhythms into creation as an example for how to live my life. 5. Honor your father and mother. Thank you for my family and

13 Leftovers From A Sermon on Gratitude

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. (LUKE 1:46-49) 13 THOUGHTS ON GRATITUDE 1. Gratitude is the result of who you are, not what happens to you. 2. Gratitude is an internal commitment to not be controlled by external circumstances. 3. What happens TO me can never change what has been done FOR me. 4. Gratitude focuses on God's provision instead of my problems. 5. We all have problems, and it is good to tell God about our problems, but they should never be our primary focus. 6. God's provisions far outnumber your problems. 7. Gratitude grows from past deliverance not present darkness. 8. Mercy is only needed by those who have made mistakes. 9. Mercy is something we don't always see, even though it is there. We don&#